Donations Needed for Homeless Shelters in This Time of Crisis
Friday, Mar. 27, 2020
As we each face the rapid changes in our regular routines brought on by the outbreak of COVID-19, there are those among us striving each day to serve the most vulnerable and least able to find shelter against the virus, the homeless.
Within our three new homeless resource centers and other shelter sites across the state, homeless service providers are meeting through phone and video conferencing to discuss best practices for containing the spread of the deadly virus within the close quarters of dorm-room style shelters. Through these meetings, as well as meetings with officials from county and state health departments, providers are developing emergency plans that include ending hot meal services in favor of “grab-and-go” meals, regularly disinfecting throughout facilities, standardizing procedures for determining if a client has been exposed, and educational efforts to ensure clients and guests know and engage in physical distancing and hand washing practices to the extent possible in close quarters.
Each shelter provider faces similar issues: a severe shortage of staff and volunteers as fears of infection spread, struggles finding cleaning supplies as stores are stripped bare, and a lack of space to quarantine people with symptoms.
Though we may not be able to participate in the Eucharist, we can engage in communion with others to help our homeless service providers care for our homeless neighbors.
For Salt Lake County residents, consider donating the following items to Volunteers of America, The Road Home and Catholic Community Services for use within the homeless resources centers:
• Non-alcohol hand sanitizer
• Clorox wipes
• Aerosol disinfectant spray
• Face masks
• No touch thermometers
• Toilet paper
• New men’s and women’s underwear, socks and bras
• New or gently used men’s and women’s pants
• Laundry soap
• Disposable gowns
• Bottled water
• Paper/plastic dishes and eating utensils
Volunteers are also needed at some of the centers to assist with meals. Contact the specific provider to determine what opportunities are available. Other homeless resource centers and shelters that may also need similar donations and volunteers include Switchpoint Community Resource Center in Saint George and Lantern House in Ogden.
Jean Hill is the director of the Diocese of Salt Lake City Office of Life, Justice and Peace. Reach her at email@example.com.